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Proverbs 3:910; 11:2426; 13:11; 15:1617; 16:11; 23:45comment (0)

June 26, 2008

By Jerry W. Batson

Related Scripture: Proverbs 3:910; 11:2426; 13:11; 15:1617; 16:11; 23:45

Bible Studies for Life
Associate Professor of Divinity (Retired), Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

If Your Money Could Talk
Proverbs 3:9–10; 11:24–26; 13:11; 15:16–17; 16:11; 23:4–5

If you could survey friends and family members as to their attitudes toward money, then what might you discover? You might discover some who are trying to get as much money as possible. You might even find someone who is tempted to gain wealth by illegal or unethical means. Likely you would turn up some who are struggling to manage their money wisely. Some might reveal that they have great difficulty developing a personal or family financial plan and staying with it.

Amid a range of attitudes people take toward money, the anchoring truth is that God wants His people to honor Him in how they think about, make and use their money. Four guidelines from Proverbs can help all of us align our thinking with God’s will concerning material possessions and money.

Check Your Spiritual Balance Regularly (3:9–10; 15:16–17)
From this set of verses, we can learn truths concerning our money. We are to honor God with possessions and wealth and know that God’s provisions and love are valuable assets. One way we honor God with money is to devote a portion of it systematically to support the Lord’s work. We also honor God when we use the remainder of our money in ways that gain His approval.

When we check our spiritual balance, we are looking beyond billfolds, purses or checkbooks. After all, money cannot buy the best things in life, such as a right relationship with God and loving relationships with people.

Never Fall in Love with Money (23:4–5)
A love affair with money is an impermanent relationship. Either money will forsake us or we will exit life and leave it behind. The instruction from Proverbs is, “Don’t wear yourself out to get rich.” The impermanence of riches is at the heart of the further counsel, “As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears.”

Hearts get broken when fixed on wealth. Depressions come, business deals fall through, investments fail and as Jesus warned, thieves break in and steal.

Furthermore money can lure its lovers into evil practices and indulgences. Thus the Bible declares that love of money is the root of all evil and the cause of piercing sorrows (1 Tim. 6:10).

Make Every Buck Honestly (13:11; 16:11)
Biblical wisdom commends honest labor but uniformly condemns dishonest business practices. In ancient times, trading involved using balance scales for weighing commodities. Honest balances and scales could lay claim to belonging to the Lord. He was interested not only in the weight on the scales being honest but also the weights in the bag. The principle is rather clear: the Lord expects His people to earn their money by honest and upright methods. When people get their wealth by lying and defrauding, they lose more than they gain.

Grow in Generosity (11:24–26)
Paul remembered that Jesus was reported to have said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). The Bible’s advice has guided people through the ages to give generously. This guidance helps us know that generosity not only pleases the Lord and blesses those who receive but also blesses the giver.

A concern greater than simply giving is that of giving from right motives. Giving that is begrudging or done perfunctorily or even as a thoughtless habit (although giving is a commendable habit to cultivate) fails to bless and enrich the giver. Some approach giving with the idea of giving in order to receive back from God. This misses the point of how God wishes to bless a generous giver. The blessed giver is the one moved by the Lord’s love to be generous to others.

Charlatans of the past attempted to fool people with what they claimed were powers of alchemy — the ability to transmute base metals into gold or silver. God never fools people with His ability to transmute material gifts given into spiritual benefits received.

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